I published another ebook today. This one is the life story of my friend Jihad Ramadan, a Palestinian living in Deheisheh Camp in Bethlehem, Palestinian Territories. His story is a snapshot of many Palestinian lives. My hope is that the book will raise awareness and love for the Palestinian people and Jihad too. The book is a quick read at 28 pages. Also, 50% of the profit goes directly to Jihad who dreams of building a home soon.
“Grass, Trees, Sunshine: The Story of Jihad Ramadan” is for sale on Amazon.com for $2.99.
Check it out and spread the word!
I’m on page 140 of the book I am writing. I was doing some editing today and I thought I’d share a snippet with the world. Enjoy.
With a sigh and a giggle I made it into Ramallah unscathed. Now I was to follow my instructions: “Go to the city center and find a policeman. Ask the police man how to get to the Ministry of Interior.” There was one major problem: it was the day before Ramadan and it was a Friday. Streets were overloaded with thousands of people walking and shopping. I was driving in a river of salmon madly swimming upstream as if their lives and legacies depended on it. I carved a path through their splashes and flops, a steady, “Well, at least its ten miles per hour” path. Creeping my way to the traffic circle bulls’ eye was tedious.
Upon entering the confluence of this hub of streets (there are six streets which reach out from the manara/city center), I knew it was tactically unsound to attempt to stop in the whir of cars and people to ask a policeman for directions. I asked the Holy Spirit instead. “Holy Spirit, which street should I go down?” My eyes were drawn to the right. I knew it was that one. I turned. The very next cross street held the grin of a large police station. It was as if the Holy Spirit had grown up in Ramallah. The grin of the police station was an open driveway with a conspicuous, “NO PARKING” sign. I read it as “Reserved for Dawn Richardson.” I pulled in. Arms waving, a policeman jaunted to my open window, “You can’t park here! You can’t park here!” I smiled, “I saw the sign, I just need to ask a question.” “What?!” he responded. “How do I get to the Ministry of Interior?” I asked, our conversation taking place in Arabic. He began to answer with landmarks, not street names: “Go down to Abdul the butcher’s, turn left, go two streets until you see the green door with the plastic tiger in front next to the old house where the mayor used to live, turn right, pass the pharmacy, go right, pass the Dar Awwad neighborhood, take the second left…” I was wide-eyed. The layers of insider knowledge and hard-to-catch landmarks were vast. I silently asked God to send me someone who spoke English who would get in the car with me and show me the way. The policeman saw my mental overload, “Wait. Let me get someone who speaks English!” “Okay,” I smiled. A young man hopped out of the building moments later and began giving me similar directions, this time in English. I started to write them down. “Wait. Could I get in the car with you and show you the way?” he jutted his epiphany-ized head at mine. “Yes, that would be great,” I answered. He slid around the car and into the passenger seat. This made the journey, while serpentine and complicated, smooth and relaxed. I was touched by Father God’s kindness.
When we approached the Ministry of Interior, the policeman out front gave us special permission to park at the curb. When we walked inside the security officers knew my navigator-friend Ahmed and welcomed us cordially as we left our keys in their plastic tubs. When we ascended the escalator into the head office, the secretary, initially flustered by my foreignness, calmed under my new friend’s gentleness. Still, she said, “You wasted your time driving here. There is no way you can get this permission by Thursday. You can’t speak with the man in charge, because I know he will say, ‘no.’” I politely asked to see him anyway. “No, it is not possible,” she retorted, annoyed by my outlandish request.
As with dozens of times over the previous two weeks, I crossed my arms casually and waited silently, thinking, “I’ve responded to the Holy Spirit, now it’s your turn.” She waited for me to leave. I remained. “Okay, I will ask him to see you,” she spouted, releasing inventoried air from her lungs’ warehouse. A moment later she said, “He will see you. Go on in.” I smiled, laughing to myself and thinking this woman did not yet realize she had become a significant role in The Play of the Miraculous, my Father, the Director was putting on.
We entered the office and sat down. “What can I help you with?” the man queried. I explained, “I need an ID card for a girl from Bethlehem so I can take her and five other youth to a conference in Israel Thursday.” “That’s not possible. It takes at least two weeks to get an ID.” “I understand that’s the norm, but I am here to ask you to do what you can to make it happen by Monday so all six kids can go to the conference. It’s a really big deal for them and I am certain they will all go.” Back and forth we went: my “I don’t think it’s impossible” bouncing against his, “It’s impossible.” After a few rounds I said, “Could you call someone and ask?” “No,” he said. “There must be someone,” I added. “Well, let me make a phone call,” he said, his words wiggly like gelatin. He made the call. “I don’t think it will work,” he said. “I think there is a way and you can make it work,” I said sweetly, not impatient, but insistent. He shifted in his rolling office chair. I think he was especially squirmy because I was a woman, evidenced by the fact he continually turned to my friend and asked him to tell me it was “impossible.”
Then he rolled back toward his desk, “I’ll be right back,” he spurted. I turned to Ahmed, “Do you know what a ‘miracle’ is?” I asked. “What?” “A miracle, you know muahjdeze,” I added. “Yes, I know what it is, but I have never seen one,” he explained, eyebrows vaulted. “You are about to see one,” I responded. “What?!” he said fascinated, and also a bit uncomfortable. “You are going to see a miracle,” I said. His furrowed forehead leaned in for more of an explanation, as the boss walked back in the door. The boss sat down. He wrote something on a business card and slid it across the desk to my hospitable hand. “This is my phone number. Call me on Sunday and I will make sure all the paper work is completed and the ID is in the Bethlehem office Monday morning.” I cracked a smile, my three year-old after a temper tantrum had walked gently back into the room and said, “Mommy, I love you.” Ahmed dropped his jaw, sharply yanking his eyes toward mine in shock. We stood. I thanked the boss; Ahmed nodded in a sort of traditional Palestinian salute to an older person. We walked out the door. The secretary was somewhere between baffled dismay and incomprehensible awe when we told her the ID would be ready Monday. We descended the stairs, collected our precious metals (keys, etc) from the plastic bin, and slid out the door.
Upon entering the car Ahmed sat silently, eyes locked on the road. He gave me a few gestures to indicate where to turn, and then he said, “I have never seen anything like that.” “What do you mean?” I asked. “You knew he was going to get you the ID. How did you know?” “Well, I know God wants these six kids at the conference so I trust he will make a way for them to get there. He’s a good Father and He gives good gifts. I know God loves me and wants to do miracles for me.” “I have never thought of that!” he exhaled/exclaimed. “What do you mean?” I said. “I have never thought of God like that,” he added. “Oh, well, He loves you too. He wants you to know Him and He wants to do good things for you. If you talk to Him and ask Him to talk back to you, He will. He longs to talk with you.” “This is the first time I have ever heard of God like this. The God I hear about is harsh and you never know if He will accept you or not. He is not a friend.” Ahmed said.
After he said this I began to prophesy over him: bits of his life dreams, his strengths, and his future. He was dazzled and a sort of rapturous delirium enveloped his face. I spoke a world into existence for him. He began to say, “I’ve never known people could hear God’s voice like this,” “Yes, and you will too,” I smiled. He began to get excited, “I’m going to start talking to him all the time: at work, at home, walking in the city. This is going to be great!” I was tickled by his enthusiasm and renewed sense of personal value. I dropped him off in the city center and he thanked me for changing his life. (Really, he used those words.) I drove safely and securely back to Bethlehem.
I’m going to Baghdad this fall to meet leaders and deliver paintings to them; and to cast vision and prepare for my semi-move there next year. You can take part in this opportunity at this specific moment in history to see a nation flourish. Beyond the news, beyond the statistics, there is a beautiful nation full of amazing people in need of advocacy and courage on their behalf. Will you believe with me for outrageous hope for Iraq?
From heaven’s perspective this is already a done deal, but here on earth I still need some money. Every bit matters, even one dollar is part of the fulfillment.
Imagine a year from now: Baghdad is more stable, children are more free to play, more families picnic by the Tigris River, the Iraqi dinar is stronger, the Middle East is more peaceful, and YOU had a part in it! haha! THAT will be gorgeous!
Please share the opportunity to cheer for mothers, fathers, and children in Iraq by sharing the link below on facebook, twitter, your blog, your website, via email, and via word of mouth. Let’s stand together and champion the people of Iraq and the restoration of their dreams and their lives.
THANKS for believing in me and investing in HOPE for the Middle East! I love Baghdad SO much! One glimpse of the city or the mere mention of its name and my heart beats with the passion of a thousand hearts, a thousand happy, smitten hearts. Baghdad will flourish.
HOPE’s anthem, a song to get your hope-beat pitter-pattering faster: http://www.box.net/shared/6iaibkby45j5j4ym043b
And one of my favorite new songs, “Jesus, You Have Won Me,” go to minute 16:50
Jesus has already WON Iraq. He paid for it. And her heart is turning to Him. She’ll sing along very soon. : )
She’ll also sing along to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2pw3rJvif8&feature=related
Tomorrow August 1, 2011 is the first day of Ramadan. Ramadan occurs during the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, which varies from year to year based on the moon so Ramadan is not the same dates every year, but actually gets about 11 days earlier each year. Ramadan is meant to be a month (30 days) of fasting. This fasting is refraining from eating, drinking, and smoking from sun up to sun down. The practice of fasting is adherence to one of the five pillars of Islam – the five primary tenets of Islam.
Two main greetings during Ramadan are “Ramadan Mubarak” which means “Ramadan Blessings” and “Ramadan Kareem” which means “generous” or “rich” Ramadan. When I lived in Palestine I relished the opportunity to say “Ramadan Kareem” during Ramadan because there was a hidden nutritional content to my words. I was blessing people with revelation and depth of encounter with God. My friends usually thought I was referring to God or “Allah” as identified in Islam, but I was referring to the Living God, the Father of Jesus and the Creator of All. I was blessing them to know the Truth and to have the Truth set them free.
Blessings of revelation, encounters with Jesus, and the great and glorious engulfing love of God!
more about Ramadan:
I’m selling “I ♥ Baghdad” shirts.
Spread the word via facebook, blogs, email, word of mouth, websites.
And join the hope revolution.